Size of U.S. Defense Budget

If you have kids, the conversations sometime wander into strange areas. I was told yesterday that the U.S. Defense budget was 54% of the U.S. budget. I said that not right, even though Siri was telling him otherwise.

It turns out that in 2015 that the U.S. Defense budget was 54% of U.S. discretionary spending, according to Wikipedia. This is a significant distinction. In 2015 the U.S. defense budget was $598 billion. In 2015 the U.S. Federal budget was $3.688 trillion actual (compared to 3.9 Trillion requested). This is 16% of the U.S. budget. As always, have to read carefully.

Just to complete the math, the U.S. GDP in 2015 was 18.037 Trillion (United Nations figures). So, federal budget is  20% of GDP (or 22% is the requested budget figure is used) and defense budget is 3.3% of GDP.

Latest figures are 583 billion for U.S. Defense budget (requested for 2017), 3.854 estimated expenditures for the U.S. Federal Budget for 2016 and 4.2 trillion requested for 2017, and 18.56 trillion for U.S. GDP (2016) and 19.3 trillion (preliminary for 2017).



And other wikipedia links.



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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

Articles: 1516

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